I recently asked a transplant from Texas who works with growing companies that are in search of more talent what is the biggest difference between employers in the Lone Star State and Northeast Ohio. He gave me a very sobering one word answer: “Hope.”
Employers everywhere are desperate for workers that are trainable and motivated. In Texas, companies are convinced that they will be able to do what is necessary to find the workers. And that, eventually, things will get better and the business will grow. In Northeast Ohio, the transplant observed, employers are frustrated by their difficulties in finding and attracting workers. So frustrated that they no longer have hope. Although the transplant sees nothing but great things in our future, many of the employers he is working with no longer have faith that things will get better.
I found this assessment distressing, but not too surprising. As a transplant to the region (17 years ago), I am very familiar with the lament of locals that things are getting worse and will only get worse. I don’t share that view and wouldn’t stay here if I did.
The Texas transplant challenged me, as a teller of stories about how Northeast Ohio is building a brighter future, to reinvent the narrative that is Northeast Ohio’s story. This new Northeast Ohio story needs to be rust free. It needs to be a story that gives people hope for a brighter future.
So, I turn to you for a few suggestions. Give me three things that give you hope for the year ahead and future of Northeast Ohio.
Post your ideas by commenting to this post or send me an e-mail, and I’ll compile them and create a master list and add to it over time. And we can all use the list to start telling our own stories that provide hope for our region’s future.
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# Submitted by cthompson on Mon, 12/10/2007 – 15:36.
1. Northeast Ohio is home to world-class assets that most other regions would love to have, including the Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, NASA Glenn Research Center and the Liquid Crystal Institute.
2. The new University System of Ohio promises to dramatically improve our state’s ability to enroll and graduate more college students.
3. Elected officials appear to be committed to throwing out our present, ineffective system of economic development and replacing it with one that enables all communities to share in and benefit from the region’s economic growth. The revenue sharing study offers hope that our region can indeed make changes to build a brighter future.
# Submitted by cthompson on Tue, 12/11/2007 – 12:58.
An Advance Northeast Ohio reader sent me an e-mail with these thoughts on the region:
We have our problems, but we are finally doing something about it.
1. The cost of living & our affordable housing.
2. Top notch medical from Cleveland to Pittsburgh. (with so much room to grow).
3. The unions no longer control our future, we do.
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:11.
1) A beautiful metroparks system, with a bike trail when completed will connect Akron –> Cleveland and Mentor
2) Read the newspaper there is a serious effort to analyze our problems the next step is working on correcting those problems
3) zipcode 44105 has been billed as the epicenter of the foreclousure mess, drive through Slavic Village and notice the many new homes, the faith (all the beautiful churches), and a corporation (Third Federal Savings) that is so committed to the area.
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:41.
NEO has many reasons for hope, including:
1) An abundance of natural resources, especially water, which is in scarce supply in many parts of the country and presents a potential barrier to future growth in those places.
2) An excellent transportation system, especially enough roads to move people and goods efficiently around the area and to other parts of the country.
3) The availability of many public and private institutions for higher education, including some very affordable sources like Tri-C and lakeland Community College. Many parts of the country (and even the state) have little in the way of local, affordable education options. We need to make better use of these resources.
I also agree with what people have said in other posts about the importance of our cultural assets and affordable cost of living.
We need to change the negative mindset that permeates such a large part of our population. Problems are not nails in a coffin, they are challenges that can be creatively addressed. I believe they will be.
# Submitted by karlwhess on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:49.
We have gotten rid of a whole raft of corrupt officials – from the board of elections, the governor’s office, attorney general, secretary of state. We have replaced them with competent, and so far as I can tell, honest officials.
So far the predatory lenders have gotten away with a lot of ill-gotten gains. When we start to see them in handcuffs, we will have much more reason to hope.
# Submitted by Patrick Kelly (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 12:23.
1. Water-To drink, to use for production, for recreation and to live by. Witness the problems that the south and the west have been experiencing.
2. We’re Genuine. A key point uneartherd by the research for the Cleveland Plus campaign. Young people do not want to shop at cookie cutter malls, live in modular homes but rather they want a unique urban experience. With the plans for new downtown residential developments or the regentrification of neighborhoods, we are on our way towards achieving that type of environment.
3. Educational infrastructure. We have the tools in place for more of our residents to take advantage of higher education (although we need two year/community college/associate degree opportunities outside of the urban core (Cuyahoga, Lake and Lorain). Two year technical degrees are an important part of our workforce development plans. Now we need more people, better prepared, to enroll and graduate with a degree.
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 20:16.
We have the new concept of Regionalism in this area. Will we use it to: 1. Work more efficiently in purchasing and maintenance.
2. Strip local control and proximity of Police and Fire protection.
3. Manage a way to extract more funds from employed
Taxpayers to ensure several more generations of Cleveland
residents and ex-residents never have to even attempt at
working a job, buying their own health care, food, housing,
transportation, and all the secondary issues coming from
the “culture” of crime.
I am not completely without hope, but maybe a timeline of success
should be the answer. If we do succeed then we all get something out of it. With the failure, then the only othersocial welfare money I want to spend locally is a big wall keeping the Cleveland exodus back, like the ugly walls along I-90 East.
# Submitted by Sandy A. De Santis (not verified) on Fri, 12/28/2007 – 10:22.
Our area is blessed with a multitude of rich natural resources and culture, for example Mill Creek Park with its natural beauty, bike and nature trails that encompasses several of our cities and townships;
Our area has a wealth and wide variety of ethnic heritages that helps in developing very strong and deeply rooted family values, a strong moral character and willingness to do their part towards improving their community;
We have generations of a diverse and highly skilled workforce with a strong work ethic and “can do” attitude.
# Submitted by Gretchen (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:17.
Most coastal real estate is now so high, even upper middle class individuals are priced out of most waterside communities. Although options for lakeside living and vacationing may not be readily available in Cleveland, there are several gems along Ohio’s north coast that are affordable options (Linwood Park in Vermilion is the best one)!
# Submitted by Tom Sudow (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:22.
There is no hope in Northeastern Ohio – if you are hoping for pessimism. It is not that we look at the glass as half full or half empty — WE WANT TO DENY THERE IS A GLASS. I am tired of this attitude that life is bad here. Our young people a fleeing to Boston – Well here is what the Boston Globe says – “Part of the problem in Massachusetts is we are not keeping enough young people here,” said Jay Doherty, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes president. “They want more public transportation options and more amenities in their lifestyles. They want more shopping and restaurants than prior generations, and if they can’t find it here they will go somewhere else.”
The sky is falling mentality is all over, we have just perfected it here in Northeastern Ohio. The sky is not falling, it is just snow! If you are one with no hope and you keep you head in the sand – look what you are missing – THREE SPORTS TEAM IN THE PLAYOFFS IN THE SAME YEAR (NOT BOSTON – CLEVELAND) A wonderful new transit system named the best in the US. New VCs moving into the area to promote new investments and new companies. International companies selecting Northeastern Ohio, Goodyear staying, colleges, theatre, no commute and a reasonable standard of living. NOT SO BAD.
So, if you have no hope — move to Boston, where the sky is really falling if you consider the big dig.
At this time of year — if you do not have hope — what is left. AND WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE THAN HOPE IN NORTHEASTERN OHIIO
# Submitted by Melissa Keating (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:24.
We have several reasons to be hopefull.
1 – Great cultural centers: Playhouse Square/Cleveland Playhouse, Museum of Art, and Severance Hall just to name a few.
2 – Lake Erie – our region is finally starting to capitalize on our tourism potential surrounding the lake.
3 – Higher Education – we have some of the best facilities from community colleges like Lorain County Community College to four year institutions like Case & OSU
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:28.
1. Quality of life if Northeast Ohio is good. There is lots of good culture here. There are museums, theaters, world renowned medical care and universities. Turn on the news and view the middle-east! Wake up, we have tons of blessings to enjoy and share! Never give up hope!
2. There are lots of of different types of people who live, work, and act as leaders in our area. This shows a good quality strong area and strong individuals. There are all kinds of people who care about all kinds of people here. This is an extension of ideals this country was built on. Wake up Benjamin Franklin and ask him. He would be thrilled with NE Ohio today!
3. I think the world economy has become to complex to be able to determine the future. So what else is new! No one has ever predicted the future. There will always be good times and bad times. Look at the quality of the area and don’t compare it with other places they have different qualities!
NE Ohio / Cuyahoga Co./Cleveland Resident
# Submitted by Keith Cox (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:31.
1. The number of individuals and organizations working together to promote sustainability in order to thrust NE OH to the front of the “green revolution.” Our innovative, entrepreneurial sprit will win the day.
2. The “conversations” in NE OH are definitely shifting (e.g., regionalism) which truly opens the doors to new possibilities. As new ideas surface the action is sure to follow (and in some cases already has).
3. All major sports teams in the playoffs (GO BROWNS) in the same year!! It has to be one of the most hopeful things a Clevelander can dream of (or a sure sign of the apocalypse)!
# Submitted by Kevin Ziegler (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 11:37.
1. I am 23 years old, my generation doesn’t know the “glory days.” For those of us who are here in Cleveland now, it has only gotten better and will continue to get better while we are here.
2. Our cost of living is low, we have economics in our favor. If we start promoting the existing career opportunities we have and swing our attitude to one that attracts newcomers, they will easily be sold on how affordable it is compared to other major cities.
3. Cleveland has authentic culture. You can’t buy or build that anywhere, it happened here naturally and it stayed. I would never move somewhere without culture, and people are willing to move here to find it.
He has just explained 3 very important reasons we have hope. And, he is 23, along with his friends and co-workers, a whole new generation of knowledge workers, lawyers, doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, techies, scientists, and more. These young professionals are the future of Cleveland, the leaders of tomorrow. We have hope because Cleveland is rising up, people are coming back into the city to re-build “The American City”. The suburbs will always be the diverse, rich communities, and fabulous places to live. This lackluster attitude is what needs to be changed. Maybe you didn’t see industries changing, and you weren’t able to adjust quickly, but it’s not over, opportunity is all around. Cleveland, and northeast Ohio is the heart of America, where you will find the best people around, and we are here to stay.
Doron Kutash, 25, from Cleveland Hts., BBA & MBA Kent State University
President and Founder, Go2Go Taxi (Kent, Ohio)
# Submitted by Bill Barrow on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 12:19.
One hopeful sign is the collaborative spirit evidenced by the region’s libraries, historical societies and other community groups in creating on-line access to their historic resources through the Ohio’s Heritage Northeast site (http://www.OhiosHeritageNE.org). Akron-Summit County Public Library, Alliance’s Rodman Public Library, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University Library, Oberlin College’s Archival Services and Westlake’s Porter Public Library have all joined together to enable people to search all their holdings on the region’s history simultaneously from OHNE. Institutions who don’t have their materials up on the web yet are using Cleveland State’s Cleveland Memory Project (http://www.ClevelandMemory.org) to mount their images and behind it all is a large group called the Greater Cleveland History Digital Library Consortium, coordinating the details of this emerging regional resource. If we’re all going to market ourselves as members of the same region, then touting the shared heritage of that region is a good way to help build a sense of identity.
# Submitted by Grover (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 12:34.
1. Continental Airlines expansion
2. Playhouse Square
3. $300,000 Condos, which are sold, in Lakewood and Detroit-Shoreway neighborhoods show that the pendulum of urban sprawl is swinging back – at least for some.
P.S. Why does the Plain Dealer hate Cleveland?
# Submitted by Craig Wickstrom (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 14:13.
1. WATER – NE Ohio is blessed with abundant water. When the south and west dry up and have to spend untold $ on providing water, NE Ohio (if we don’t squander it first), will have the most important natural resource we need to grow.
2. CLIMATE – We may gripe about the weather, but our climate is mild by any standards. If global warming happens it will still be mild. If global cooling happens, it will begin to be frigid, but we will be at the livable edge of frigid. In short, we are very well situated for the future.
3. POTENTIAL – Because we have a negative attitude about outselves – and still get along pretty well – imagine how we will do if our attitude changes!
Frankly of you ask me, its the other states that need Hope.
Ohio beat Texas last year in Plant Expansions
1. Number 1 in Plant Expansions of over $1 Million dollars for 2006!
2. Ohio had 431 Plant Expansions of over $1 Million Dollars in 2006.
3. Ohio had 84 projects in excess of $10 Million Dollars in investment in 2006
4. 25% of these projects were not manufacturing related, and 75% were!
7. 25% of Ohio expansion projects listed above had some foreign investment
8. 96 Logistics and distribution projects
9. Ohio is #1 in the Steel Industry
10. #1 in Polymers
11. #1 in Automotive Parts
12. #1 in Industrial Machinery
13. #2 in Automobile Production
14. #1 in Exports and is the fastest growing export State
15. #3 in manufacturing overall
16. Ohio created 21,000 new jobs last year associated with new plants and expansions
17. Honda’s largest engine plant in the worlds is in Ohio. 1.2 Million Engines per year!
18. All Honda motorcycles are made in Ohio, and exported across the globe.
19. Team Ohio, a membership division of the OEDA will be promoting Ohio Internationally
20. CAT TAX – MAKING US COMPETETIVE
21. Governor Strickland intends to make Ohio a leader in business demand driven talent preparation
22. Manufacturing is not going to go away. It is just going to get more and more technical.
23. Ohio is within a days drive of 70% of the US Population. Truly a Crossroads State.
24. The People of Ohio at the End of the Day have a “Get it Done” attitude. WE create solutions – rather than dwell on problems.
25. Ohio has a very engaged Governor and State Development Team that are going to be strategically focused on Education and Economic Development
# Submitted by JimS36 (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 14:32.
RTA was named Best Public Transportation System in North America for 2007. Cleveland Metroparks was voted Best Park System in the U.S. for 2007. These two publically funded organizations have become major innovators in regards to improving their services to the public and lowering costs besides. Now that we have Eugene Sanders following suit with the City’s schools, I believe very soon Cleveland will become a proud place on the map once again.
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 16:52.
1. Many of our high schools were recently awarded top high schools in the country.
2. My daughter’s family of 6 just relocated to Elyria from Charlotte, NC because of all the region has to offer her 4 children.
3. Our outstanding sports teams on every level are receiving national attention.
Like all of you I truly believe in this region. Living in Youngstown for the better part of 20 years, I understand and hear the negative reports daily about Youngstown and the Northeast Ohio region. Whose report shall we believe?
NEO is a region of Hope because;
* We have a people group that is diverse and resilient
* We have an infrastructure that lends itself to existing development as well as future growth
* We have a God who loves us and has not abandoned this region or it’s future
# Submitted by cthompson on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 18:02.
Thank you and everyone else for adding your thoughts. This conversation has generated the interest of one of our public radio stations, WCPN. They plan on doing a story on Hope for Northeast Ohio on January 2nd and will read some of the posts published here on the radio. I look forward to helping with that story and hearing from more of you about what gives you hope for Northeast Ohio.
# Submitted by Lori Miller (not verified) on Wed, 12/12/2007 – 21:39.
Through Leadership Medina, I have seen some great innovation expanding the markets and employment opportunities in NEO.
Great leaders in the area working to overcome the economic challenges.
A lot of opportunity, just think outside the box!
Most liveable city in the US
2nd biggest theater district in the US
University Circle – leading research campus in the nation
Growth in downtown housing in Cleveland, we will soon have a thriving community
Battery Park project
Euclid Corridor project
Warehouse District thriving, with room to grow
E. 4th St. thriving, trendy
Knowledge economy growing
This list can go on forever…
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/13/2007 – 12:27.
1) All across Northeast Ohio, there are unique “Pockets of Passion” where dynamic individuals and groups of volunteers are contributing their time and energy by creating new nonprofit organizations and programs which tackle the social challenges our residents face.
2) The college students I speak to, regardless of their age, are placing increased value on preparing for the future by learning new skills and updating old ones.
3) The employers I speak to, regardless of the size of their company, are planning for the future by developing new products and services in order to keep their business competitive in the region, in Ohio and in a global economy. They are planning for SUCCESS!
Our region continues to recognize diversity in all forms – diversity in race and culture, diversity in religion and age, diversity of opinion, diversity of experience, diversity of leadership…we have begun to welcome and embrace CHANGE.
# Submitted by Deborah Hammerle (not verified) on Thu, 12/13/2007 – 13:13.
I am married to a contrarian. When he says condone he means condemn. When he says bad he means good. When he says some he means all. It may not be easy at first attempt, but the key to proper listening is not to deceive yourself with your heart’s interpretation of what your ears hear or your eyes see. I do not think hope is in any way connected to worldly circumstance. Rather, I believe it is an inherent characteristic of the human/divine coincidence. The key to finding hope is to nurture it in yourself. Those who love the light will live in the light and will perpetuate the light and, like it or not, others surrounding them will be bathed in that light. There is no competition between those who love. There are no boundaries encompassing the human spirit. With that being said, we are on the threshhold of new ways to ennoble the human condition and why not embrace them as a “region”.
Why I have hope for the Cleveland region:
1. Because I have seen it in the Malz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood.
2. Because I have heard it in Fairview Park City Council meetings.
3. Because it is being activated by R. A. Vernon, Pastor of the Word Church in Warrensville Hts. and others like him.
# Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/14/2007 – 12:21.
there are so many more than three reasons, but here’s a few:
1. Amazing + beautiful natural resources, from our clean (yes, it is pretty clean now!) lake to our parks to the trees in all of our neighborhoods.
2. Accessibilty to pretty much all of your interests, in a world-class way: sports, music (classical and modern), art (from ancient to emerging artists), restaurants (ethiopian to pierogies and pasta), enriching + fun activites for your children (ever go to the zoo or either of our greenhouses on a dreary winter day?), hiking? probably a park within a few miles… you name it, you can probably find it.
3. The people: they are kind, supportive, intersting, funny, creative, hard-working, and generous (Just look into the Cleveland and Gund Foundations). We are sometimes too proud to let go of what was a great past in order to make a better future though. So Cleveland, let’s get it together and look on the bright side. We get more sun than we think.
I’d like to respond to your request on things that bring hope for NE Ohio. These are my suggestions:
1. Over the last 13 years in which I’ve been involved in technology-based entrepreneurial development, I’d have to say that the support mechanisms are at their highest and continue to grow. Entities like NEOinc, TechLift, BioEnterprise, JumpStart, and the various seed funds are starting to “hit their stride” and should continue to create increased positive contributions in the future. Those entities are now staffed with increased numbers of very highly skilled, talented, and dedicated individuals that really want to impact the region.
2. There seems to be an increased attitude of “if we don’t do it ourselves, who will?” I see an increasing number of people and organizations stepping up and trying to make a difference on the region. The Fund for our Economic Future is just one great example of “us helping us” activities., and not only are those efforts helping tech-based business development, there’s a growing emphasis on helping ALL parts of the economic development engine.
3. I also sense an attitude and momentum shift that while we’ve still go a way to go, we have turned the corner and a lot of great things are happening in the region. I think people are starting to take note of the progress and are more willing to talk positively about our accomplishments rather that sustaining the inferiority complex that we grew accustomed to.
# Submitted by Laura Neidert (not verified) on Thu, 12/20/2007 – 12:11.
Here are my three reasons of HOPE for Northeastern Ohio:
1. Education: I saw many students at Ursuline College who gave me hope. They are working incredibly hard to make Cleveland a better place when they graduate, against a great deal of personal odds. About 85% of them do stay in Cleveland. Northeastern Ohio offers a diversity of educational institutions unlike just about anywhere else.
2. Quality of life: we recognize and treasure our resources that make it a great place to live.
3. Welcoming: I am a NE Ohio native, and I just moved to central Virginia. The South is not as welcoming as you think! I feel that if someone were to come to NE from a different place, they could easily become part of the community with the right information and a push in the right direction.